Chicago Art Department’s Co.Lab features artists who have dedicated studio space at CAD, and collaborate with the community organically.  Co.Lab artists push their practice independent of CAD programs, but connect with our community as opportunities present themselves throughout the year.

BlkHaus Studios (Norman Teague + Fo Wilson)
Damon Locks
Amanda Williams

blkHaUS studios is a Chicago based, socially-focused design studio dedicated to using design as an agent of change to uplift and transform marginal communities. The name blkHaUS is inspired by the Bauhaus, a German school of architecture and applied arts founded in 1919 on experimental principles of functionalism and truth in materials. blkHaUS’ aesthetic is an integration of the founder’s heritage as Americans of African descent and their training in European modernism and design principles. Their work moves between different aesthetic references and various cultural perspectives. blkHaUS strives for their work and presence in the design profession to instigate greater inclusion of black and brown narratives in the history of design and promote design’s relevance to contemporary communities of color. Design is a language that can be used as an agent of change and as makers and educators, blkHaUS aims to develop educational pedagogies and creative methodologies, so that communities of color can thrive and be seated at the tables of power influencing contemporary urban and social design. For more information visit

Damon Locks is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The Art Institute in Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. He teaches with art as a part of Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project as well as ArtReach Chicago. Damon has done sound design for theater as a part of Free Street Theater. He has worked with dancer/educator Onye Ozuzu’s Project Tool and extensively with dancer Martine Whitehead as a sound designer for dance. He is a 2015 recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and participated in The New Quorum music residency in New Orleans. He was a 2016 MAKER Grant awardee and a 2017 Soros Justice Fellowship recipient. He was recently a part of the Hyde Part Art Center’s Public-Engaged Residency. He is an artist with the SPACE program through the Museum of Contemporary Arts, introducing civically engaged art into the curriculum at the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy.  His group, Black Monument Ensemble is performed at the Museum of Contemporary Arts and at the Garfield Park Conservatory as a part of the Red Bull Music Academy series in November. For more information visit

Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect at Cornell University. Amanda’s practice blurs the distinction between art and architecture. Her projects use color as a lens to highlight the complexities of the politics of race, place, and value in cities. She is best known for her series, “Color(ed) Theory,” in which she painted the exterior of soon-to-be-demolished houses on Chicago’s south side using a culturally-charged color palette to mark the pervasiveness of vacancy and blight in black urban communities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshaped most inner cities. For more information visit